• synonyms


or trol·ly

noun, plural trol·leys.
  1. trolley car.
  2. a pulley or truck traveling on an overhead track and serving to support and move a suspended object.
  3. a grooved metallic wheel or pulley carried on the end of a pole (trolley pole) by an electric car or locomotive, and held in contact with an overhead conductor, usually a suspended wire (trolley wire), from which it collects the current for the propulsion of the car or locomotive.
  4. any of various devices for collecting current for such a purpose, as a pantograph, or a bowlike structure (bow trolley) sliding along an overhead wire, or a device (underground trolley) for taking current from the underground wire or conductor used by some electric railways.
  5. a small truck or car operated on a track, as in a mine or factory.
  6. a serving cart, as one used to serve desserts.
  7. Chiefly British. any of various low carts or vehicles, as a railway handcar or costermonger's cart.
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verb (used with or without object), trol·leyed, trol·ley·ing.
  1. to convey or go by trolley.
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  1. off one's trolley, Slang.
    1. in a confused mental state.
    2. insane: He's been off his trolley for years, but his family refuses to have him committed.
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Origin of trolley

First recorded in 1815–25; orig. dial.; apparently akin to troll1


noun, plural trol·lies, verb (used with or without object), trol·lied, trol·ly·ing.
  1. trolley.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for trollies

Historical Examples

  • Each claim had its own wires and trollies bringing up the precious "blue" to the surface.

    Our Little Boer Cousin

    Luna May Innes

  • The bell rang, there was a sudden bustle and wheeling about of trollies, and the train glided in.

    Mrs. Severn, Vol. 1 (of 3)

    Mary Elizabeth Carter

  • On shore a tangle of carts and trollies standing horseless, barrels, cotton-bales, wool-sacks.

  • Our booty was enormous, and consisted of two hundred heavily-laden waggons, and eleven or twelve water-carts and trollies.

    Three Years' War

    Christiaan Rudolf de Wet

  • We went to Seringapatam yesterday on trollies, nine miles back on the line by which we came from Bangalore to Mysore city.

British Dictionary definitions for trollies


  1. British a small table on casters used for conveying food, drink, etc
  2. British a wheeled cart or stand pushed by hand and used for moving heavy items, such as shopping in a supermarket or luggage at a railway station
  3. British (in a hospital) a bed mounted on casters and used for moving patients who are unconscious, immobilized, etc
  4. British See trolleybus
  5. US and Canadian See trolley car
  6. a device that collects the current from an overhead wire (trolley wire), third rail, etc, to drive the motor of an electric vehicle
  7. a pulley or truck that travels along an overhead wire in order to support a suspended load
  8. mainly British a low truck running on rails, used in factories, mines, etc, and on railways
  9. a truck, cage, or basket suspended from an overhead track or cable for carrying loads in a mine, quarry, etc
  10. off one's trolley slang
    1. mentally confused or disorganized
    2. insane
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  1. (tr) to transport (a person or object) on a trolley
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See also trolleys

Word Origin

C19: probably from troll 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for trollies



1823, in Suffolk dialect, "a cart," especially one with wheels flanged for running on a track (1858), probably from troll (v.) in the sense of "to roll." Sense transferred to "pulley to convey current to a streetcar motor" (1890), then "streetcar drawing power by a trolley" (1891).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with trollies


see off one's head (trolley).

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.